That Time I Tried to Get to LA
I’m supposed to be spending a week in Los Angeles. Instead, I’m getting thrown around a tin can in the sky.
The original plan was to head out on Tuesday but I had a free day and decided to head out a day early. I normally have decent luck when it comes to travel but such is not the case this time.
Almost immediately after changing the flight, I started getting notifications of weather rolling through Chicago, where my connection is. I eyed the weather forecast and noticed that there was about a four hour opening that looked reasonably clear where I could, theoretically, get in and get out.
I didn’t take into account all the backups from the storms leading up to that small window of opportunity. My 7am flight got delayed. And then delayed again. We boarded but were then told it’d be at least another hour and we were going to have to get off the plane.
I wasn’t going to make my connection. I decided to reroute my flight to avoid the storm and increase my chances of getting there today and not get stuck in Chicago.
I opted for a 2:50pm flight through Washington, DC. They saved a seat for me on two flights since the first connection looked a bit too close. Worst case, I can make the later flight.
The storm, of course, caused delays throughout. The plane to Ottawa that was coming from DC came from Chicago first. It was already behind schedule and I quickly got notice that my flight was delayed to 4pm.
I secured my seat on the later flight since I definitely wasn’t making the earlier flight. No problem. Still plenty of time to make my connection.
As 4pm got closer, it was delayed to 4:15. And then delayed again to 4:45. That lengthy connection was now going to require a bit of a jog across terminals to make it.
As we started our approach into DC, the pilot let us know that weather was preventing us from landing and that he’d cycle around the airport until they were given the okay to land.
After circling for 20 minutes, he came on again to say that the weather wasn’t clearing and that we’d have to land in nearby Richmond.
Welp. There goes that connection.
I managed to reschedule on the 10pm flight. I should be able to make it.
As we sit to get more fuel, the storm heads towards us. There’s lightning. They can’t fuel the plane when there’s lightning so they have to stop and now we have to wait for the storm to blow over.
It’s a strong storm with lots of wind and rain. We’re now grounded for a couple hours while we wait.
It’s after 9pm and that 10pm connection is looking less likely. We have to wait for the storm to be at least 20 miles out before the fuel truck can come back and top us off.
At 9:15, the truck returns. And along with it, hope. On top of that, the 10pm flight I’m trying to catch is coming from Chicago. You know what that means? Yup. It’s delayed! New departure time is 11pm!
We’ve taken off and are on our way to DC. I might actually make it.
Clouds and storms are like country roads. They’re bumpy. This ride to and from Richmond has been like heading down that gravel road, with potholes sending you down and up with such vigour that you wonder if you’ll hit your head on the roof. A little turbulence is easily brushed off. Feeling tossed around is a little more unsettling.
Landed in DC at 10. I have to get from terminal A to D but I’m not too concerned now. I have plenty of time. I stroll over to the shuttle and hop on just as it is closing its doors.
The shuttle makes its way to the terminal. I hop off and stroll to my gate. They’re just offloading the previous flight.
I made it.
Not only that, I managed to get a window seat with an empty seat next to me.
LA, here I come.